A house set in an urban landscape, Pirouette House has been designed with all the spaces opening into a central funneling courtyard. With the east – west orientation and the openings facilitating maximum cross ventilation the idea was to provide the house with a scope to breathe as the site was otherwise suffocated by residential projects on all four sides.

Project location: Maruthamkuzhi,Trivandrum, Kerala
Architect’s Firm: Wallmakers
Website:  www.wallmakers.org
Completion Year: 2020
Gross Built Area: 196 sqm
Lead Architect: Ar. Vinu Daniel
Design Team:  Ar. Oshin Mariam Varughese, Ar. J.M.Srivarshini
Photo credits: Jino Sam
Project location: Maruthamkuzhi,Trivandrum, Kerala

Pirouette House By Wallmakers  - Sheet5
©Jino Sam

The site being located in an urban and crowded locality of Trivandrum, a city that in turn houses many of Ar. Laurie Baker’s masterpieces, the use of rat trap bond masonry technique, one of his own introductions with a little modification by Wallmakers seemed apt. Also, a deliberate attempt was made to promote the use of kiln burnt bricks in Trivandrum, an industry on the brink of extinction as the site did not provide great opportunities for soil digging for making Compressed Stabilized Earth Blocks. Rat trap bond being a brick masonry method that not only decreases the overall number of bricks in use but also with the cavity in the masonry pattern of the wall increases the thermal efficiency of the building and is ideal for concealing structural members and service ducts or conduits.

Pirouette House By Wallmakers  - Sheet7
©Jino Sam

The highlight of the house is a series of sinusoidal slanting walls gradually moving to left and right only to converge on the top for the ferrocement shells to rest on them.  Each wall has been specially crafted to create the feeling of larger volumes and a better sense of privacy within the space constraints that the site suffered from.

Leftovers from previous stages of construction was used to finish off and add character to the space. Be it scaffolding pipes left behind transforming into the central staircase and the grills or the reclaimed wooden planks becoming parts of the living room flooring, the idea was to discard nothing as ‘waste’. The locally sourced and treated cane was used to add textured screen to the grillwork and furniture providing vibrance and warmth to the spaces.

Pirouette House By Wallmakers  - Sheet9
©Jino Sam

The Pirouette House thus features the ‘Last of the Mohicans’ fired bricks as an ode to the stellar practice of Ar. Laurie Baker with spaces deriving its beauty from pure geometry and simple patterns created by walls that seem to be dancing and pirouetting around.


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